Private Duval takes a “break” in August 1918

Soldiers go over the top during the Battle of Amiens, 1918

Westmount, Quebec – 02 August 2018: Many of you have been following the daily exploits of Private Raymond Duval, MM by reading his diary which has been published every day on the RMR website since 22 March 2017 – publishing what he wrote precisely 100 years later to the day. Private Duval has been faithfully recording in his diary nearly every single day.

His story is about to start taking some more “breaks”. He won’t be posting daily on a regular basis for a while.

The reason for these breaks is because Raymond Duval and the RMR are about to start becoming engaged in major battles again, starting with the “beginning of the end”, the battle of Amiens that kicked off on 08 August 1918. Between August 8th, 1918 and November 11th, 1918, the Allied forces led a series of successful attacks on the Western Front. The Canadian Expeditionary Force contributed greatly to this last push and the event was nicknamed “The Last Hundred Days”. German troops were pushed back from Amiens, France to Mons, Belgium in under 100 days by a fast-moving infantry force supported by tanks, aeroplanes and a well-coordinated artillery. The retreating German troops were unable to retaliate and their morale progressively worsened.

Black Day of the German Army in this war – This remark is attributed to General Erich Ludendorff (leader of the German war efforts at the time) following the unprecedented Allied advance on the 8 August 1918, the first day of the Battle of Amiens. The statement reveals Ludendorff’s pragmatic realisation of the growing strength of the Allies (especially in connection with the promise of massive numbers of US troops) and the exhaustion of the German armies in France.

It is not just the combat itself that interrupts the diary, but rather the overwhelming reality of the mundane preparations for the same – be it inspections by visiting generals & politicians, exhausting route marches to get into position, or simply having some spare, lazy time that was spent in pursuit of finding friends, loafing around in the French summertime, etc. War was not always hell at all times, after all!

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